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In his address Wednesday laying out a road map to curb gun violence, President Barack Obama made only a glancing reference to the role violent video games may have in glamorizing firearms and said nothing at all about the responsibilities of the film or television industries.
Even so, associations representing film and television producers and the cable broadcasting and gaming industries were quick to issue statements affirming their support for the president’s initiative, while pointing to what they regard as the cultural complexity of the gun issue.
In his nationally televised remarks, Obama said he would “direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce (gun violence) — and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance.”
In a subsequent presidential memorandum, he also directed the CDC to explore the link, if any, between “media images” and gun violence without specifically singling out movies and television programs.
The Independent Film & Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, and National Cable & Telecommunications Association issued a joint statement saying, “We support the President’s goal of reducing gun violence in this country. It is a complex problem, and as we have said, we stand ready to be part of the conversation and welcome further academic examination and consideration on these issues as the President has proposed.”
Simultaneously, the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the major video game producers issued a statement saying it “appreciates” the president’s and Vice President Joe Biden’s willingness to go out front in the effort to reduce gun violence.
Striking a cautiously conciliatory note, the gamers’ association officials said in a statement that they “concur with President Obama’s call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report’s conclusion that the entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play.”
Nevertheless, the gaming group said, “The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.”
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